Friday, November 21, 2008

Queer Cinema Favorites: From A to Z

Our pal Dan over at the Film Babble Blog has tagged us for the "Alphabet Meme" started by Blog Cabin's Fletch (a.k.a. the guru of all things LAMB). You can read all about the rules and such here, but the basics are these: name your favorite movies by title from A to Z, one for each letter of the alphabet.

However, since this is Movie Dearest, I'm going to "bend" those rules a bit by only naming my favorite GLBT-themed movies. As you can see by the list below, I did have to dip into the "celluloid closet" on a few, but when that adds Joan Crawford, James Dean and Miss Olivia Newton-John to the mix, who's going to complain?

And here we go:
  • A is for The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994): Drag queens. In a bus. In the Australian Outback. 'Nuff said.
  • B is for Brokeback Mountain (2005): Just can't quit this one.
  • C is for The Celluloid Closet (1995): Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's seminal documentary on the history of gay Hollywood.
  • D is for Dog Day Afternoon (1975): Al Pacino's best performance is as bisexual bank robber Sonny Wortzik.
  • E is for Edge of Seventeen (1998): The coming out story for gay children of the 80's.
  • F is for Far from Heaven (2002): Todd Haynes' stylized ode to Douglas Sirk melodramas.
  • G is for Gods and Monsters (1998): Ian McKellen's best performance is as gay film director James Whale.
  • H is for Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001): John Cameron Mitchell is blonde and bigger than life in this rockin' musical.
  • I is for I've Heard the Mermaids Singing (1987): Patricia Rozema's funny/tragic look at love and art.
  • J is for Johnny Guitar (1954): Our gal Joan is a pistol-packin' "woman with a past" in this wacky western from director Nicholas Ray.
  • K is for Kiss of the Spider-Woman (1985): William Hurt won the first Oscar for a gay role in this adaptation of the Manuel Puig novel.
  • L is for Longtime Companion (1990): Norman RenĂ© and Craig Lucas' moving look at the impact of AIDS on a circle of friends.
  • M is for Maurice (1987): Classy classic from the Merchant Ivory factory, based on the E.M. Forster novel.
  • N is for Notes on a Scandal (2006): Judi Dench does good crazy as a lesbian stalker.
  • O is for The Opposite of Sex (1998): Don Roos' bitingly wicked comedy, with a star-making performance from Christina Ricci.
  • P is for Parting Glances (1986): The indie classic from the late Bill Sherwood, featuring a stunning early turn by Steve Buscemi.
  • Q is for Querelle (1982): Rainer Werner Fassbinder's sexy fever dream starring a too-hot-for-words Brad Davis in the title role.
  • R is for Rebel Without a Cause (1955): Not too hard to spot Sal Mineo's onscreen (and off?) crush of Dean's iconic Jim Stark.
  • S is for Some Like It Hot (1959): As this comedy's immortal last line says, "Nobody's perfect" ... but this movie sure is.
  • T is for The Times of Harvey Milk (1984): Another Epstein doc, this Oscar winner is a must-see companion to Gus Van Sant's upcoming Milk biopic.
  • U is for Unzipped (1995): Isaac Mizrahi is the star of this "behind-the-seams look at the world of high fashion".
  • V is for Victor/Victoria (1982): Robert Preston's Toddy, the self-appointed "queen of Paris", steals the show.
  • W is for The Wedding Banquet (1993): Ang Lee's first foray into gay themes is this Academy Award nominated winner.
  • X is for Xanadu (1980): No overt gay content, but still the gayest movie on this list.
  • Y is for Yossi & Jagger (2002): Eytan Fox's surprisingly tender (and sexy) tale of two soldiers in love.
  • Z is for Zero Patience (1993): A movie musical about the AIDS crisis? It shouldn't work, but it does.
Our resident Men on Film, Chris and Neil, will be chiming in over the next few days with their choices as well. In the meantime, how many of these movies have you seen? And what would be your favorite movies, from A to Z? Join in on the fun in the comments section below.

UPDATE: Oopsie ... forgot to "tag" five more bloggers ... so "Tag, you're it" to the mysterious Broadway Mouth, the talented Dave of Daveland Art, the frickin' hilarious Noelle at Just Putting It Out There, the fabulous Shane at Queer Two Cents and last (but certainly not least) my very own brother Kerry at War Painter Studios. You got served. (And no, I didn't forget the sassy Marc at Deep Dish; he already posted his groovalicious list here.)

... and here is Chris' take ...

... as well as Neil's.


  1. I've seen half of these. Of them my favorites are Victor / Victoria, Adventures of Priscilla, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Dog Day Afternoon and Gods and Monsters. See a few here to add to my rental que, thanks!

  2. I love nearly all of them (and your blog is fabulous by the way), but too few lesbian-themed films made the list IMHO. Besides, Notes on a Scandal is good, but it can be argued that it portrays lesbianism in an outdated and negative way.

    I would have included Death In Venice. There must be very few films which are queerer and more beautiful than that one!

  3. Love these lists! I've seen almost all of these movies and agree with most of your choices. I believe Priest with Linus Roache and Robert Carlyle rules over Parting Glances though. I miss Torch Song Trilogy but am having a hard time determing whether it really is better than The Times of Harvey Milk or not. For M, I'd choose My Beautiful Laundrette. However, that early Daniel Day-Lewis pic would have to move over soon for Milk which I was lucky to see at a special screening - a truly inspiring and beautiful movie which catches the spirit of Epstein's doc. And as a bonus "number" I'd throw in The 24th Day with James Marsden.

  4. Anon:

    I admit that my list of "lesbian movies I need to see" is long. And being a gay male, my favorites tend to lean toward gay stories.

    Btw, my favorite lesbian movie is "Bound", but nothing can beat "Brokeback".


    "Parting Glances" was one of the first (if not *the* first) gay movie I saw in a theater, so it holds a special place in my heart. "Priest" is up there, though.

    "T" was a hard one for me. In addition to "Torch Song", I also love "Trick" and "Transamerica". But you're right, "Times of HM" is hard to top.

    And I have a feeling "Milk" will go to #1 on a lot of people's best movie lists, gay-themed or otherwise. Can't wait to see it later this week.

    As for "M", "My Beautiful Laundrette" just narrowly got edged out by "Maurice", another sentimental favorite of mine.

    Thanks for reading!

    - kch

  5. I haven't seen many of them, and disliked most of them I have seen. But I found The Opposite of Sex more offensive than anything.

  6. I love "Dog Day Afternoon", "Parting Glances", "Victor/Victoria" and "The Opposite of Sex" as well. All great choices, Kirby!


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